This psalm is framed by the declaration of God’s sovereignty, and at the center of the psalm lies the proclamation of humanity’s God-given rule here on earth. It is easy for us to understand those theological principles independent from one another. But the important move for us, as readers of Psalm 8, is to hold the boundaries and the center together in order to fully grasp the meaning of the song. J. Clinton McCann notes, “To fail to take seriously the central importance of humanity in God’s plan for the creation is to abdicate the God-given responsibility to be partners with God in caring for the earth. At the same time, it is necessary to recognize that the proclamation of human sovereignty is bounded, both structurally and theologically, by the proclamation of God’s sovereignty.”
I recognize that this is a bit heady for a devotional that goes out at 4:30 in the morning. But hang with me. We see in Psalm 8 that human power and authority here on earth is derivative. Therefore, apart from the limits of God’s sovereign will, the human exercise of dominion is simply self-rule. The attempt to live in this way leads to all manner of sinful leadership. To rule in this way is to forget that humans are in partnership with God. To strike out on our own invites disaster both personally and corporately. We need to recognize that we were created to partner with God. As Jesus says in John 15, “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Let us remember today that the Lord is the source of our leadership. Apart from Him, we can do nothing.